Better Serving People with Multiple, Complex Needs in BC through Health System Impact.

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, Michael Smith Health Research BC, and Community Living BC (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.


The aim of this research project is to better understand and address the health needs and service requirements of people with multiple, complex needs under the purview of Community Living British Columbia (CLBC). The proposed research project will build on existing research and fill important gaps in knowledge regarding the health of people with a multiple complex needs designation and effective service delivery mechanisms at points of intersection with the healthcare system. This research project will advance CLBC’s research efforts through two key objectives. The first is to better understand the health-related needs of this population, which includes an analysis of health-related contacts (type and frequency), outcomes, and costs associated with this population. In BC, much is not known about the health-related needs of this group.  The second objective is to identify and learn from promising practices in BC — specifically, what is being done that works for this population and why, with particular attention to issues of sustainability and scalability. Although findings from CLBC’s qualitative research highlight the need for significant systemic change in the delivery of services for people with multiple complex needs, it also identified “pockets of excellence” in BC where local or regional solutions have emerged as examples of practice excellence. Through this objective, I will focus on services that directly intersect with the healthcare system (e.g. acute care, residential detox/treatment, etc.) and address underlying social determinants of health, including, for example: homelessness, poverty, and issues of gender and race (Indigenous people). The research will include an evaluation of selected services. In addition, an inventory of services for the multiple, complex needs people in BC will be developed.


End of award update: December 2021


Impact goal

To inform policies and practices so that people with intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD) and multiple, complex needs (MCN) receive high-quality service and care from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC).


Impact summary

Dr. Cook’s research led to key academic and knowledge mobilization deliverables, such as a plain-language summary report of key findings and recommendations related to the health and service delivery needs of people living with IDD and MCN. The report will help inform future policies and practices. Stemming from the research and recommendations, CLBC will establish a data innovations project to help the organization better understand integrated and coordinated care across health systems for people with IDD/MCN. Dr. Cook’s research has helped reinforce a cultural shift within CLBC toward broad and long-lasting changes that will better serve people with IDD and MCN.


Read more about the impact of Dr. Cook’s fellowship in the CIHR HSIF 2017-19 Embedded Research Impact Casebook.